Pubdate: Thu, 13 Apr 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Mark Bonokoski
Page: 12


Rushed pot law could have criminals lighting up

In their madness to table reefer legislation, the Trudeau Liberals had
to jump the gun on 4/20.

The April 20 pot head holiday falls on next Thursday, not this
Thursday. But because of the advent of Parliament's spring break, the
Liberals had to undershoot the tabling by a week.

Such a shame for the Trudeauites who wanted the world of see them as
progressive hipsters, only to have something as uncool as a
parliamentary calendar buzzkill their moment.

After all, when Health Minister Jane Philpott announced at the United
Nations in 2016 that Canada would set about to legalize the
recreational use of marijuana, she did so on April 20.

As explained here recently, that date has evolved into a kind of
counter-culture international holiday as fans of marijuana roll their
spliffs and break out their bongs at mass rallies to publicly
celebrate pot and advocate for its universal legalization.

So iconic has 4/20 become, in fact, that even 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.
have become sacred times.

Perhaps by tabling its marijuana legislation this Thursday, the
Liberals are simply giving heavy users a week's notice to get up from
their couches and plan their celebrations.

The legislation being tabled, however, is thin and far from ready,
even as the Liberals vow to have its law legalizing and regulating the
recreational use of pot in play by Canada Day, 2018.

At the very least, and unlike alcohol, there has been no device or
procedure yet developed to accurately pinpoint the degree of marijuana
impairment, which should concern anyone who drives our roads or walks
our streets.

That alone is worthy of putting the brakes on legalization.

Another concern is governments' collective penchant for taxing and
regulating the hell out of anything that suggests sin or moral
inadequacy. Think booze and cigarettes.

Marijuana will be no exception. Some powerful people - former
politicians, political insiders and well-connected capitalists - have
already invested millions in setting up legal production facilities,
and are anticipating big profits and substantial return on their
investments in light of success already seen in medical marijuana.

They will not be denied.

Then the taxman steps in, both federally and provincially, looking for
its cut of the HST and whatever additional tax is thrown in because
marijuana, like alcohol and cigarettes, will be considered a sin that
has health costs and implications to the taxpayer.

There is already talk in Liberal circles of plain packaging for
marijuana products, and therefore the downplay of innumerable and
exotic names - as in Bubba Kush, Gorilla Glue, God's Gift, AK-47,
Northern Lights - that differentiate the various strains and strengths
of marijuana.

This puts organized crime even closer to the winner's circle, as
evidenced by the sudden proliferation of illegal pot dispensaries
across the country that have to get their product black-market style.

Organized crime products, after all, are always tax-free, with dealers
having no concern about legal age restrictions.

One has to look no further than the tobacco industry where high
taxation has pushed a carton of legally-purchased cigarettes to well
over $110 when a baggie of 200 contraband cigarettes - the same number
found in a carton - can be purchased for as little as $20.

In Ontario, for example, the epicenter for the production of illegal
cigarettes on First Nation reserves, a full third to 50% of all
cigarettes purchased in the province are contraband.

The Liberals, however, appear unprepared for the same consequences
when it comes to legalized marijuana.

They should step away from their bongs over Parliament's spring break
and let their heads clear.
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MAP posted-by: Matt